This year, Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE), a membership body representing over 1,700 solicitors specialising in working with older and vulnerable people, has launched Update Your Will Week in a bid to raise awareness of the importance of updating your will regularly.

A will is a legally binding document that details how your estate is to be distributed after your death and confirms who will be responsible for administering it.

The new research commissioned by SFE and carried out by Censuswide reveals:

  • Only 56% of respondents in the South East have updated their will within the last five years.
  • Half of the respondents in the South East have experienced a life-changing event, such as getting married, divorced or having a child, since they last updated their will.
  • One-fifth (22%) of respondents in the South East know someone who has been affected by something going wrong with a will.

Rebecca Hatton, a Solicitor at Scott Bailey LLP who is SFE accredited explains:

“It’s crucial to keep your will up to date and take legal advice when life-changing events happen, like getting re-married or having children. Our research shows that four in ten wills in the South East are out of date, and many people don’t have one in the first place”.

Why is having an up-to-date will important?

Having an up-to-date, well-drafted will is crucial in ensuring your wishes are carried out in the way you’d like when you die. This can also help ease distress for loved ones and minimise disputes.

It’s especially important if you have children, to make sure your children are looked after in the way you would want after your death.

SFE launched Update Your Will Week to raise awareness of the importance of updating your will and the potential consequences of failing to do so.

How often should I update my will?

Scott Bailey LLP recommends reviewing and updating your will every five years, or when a major change in your life occurs that impacts you or your loved ones, such as divorce, marriage, new birth or even a death in the family.

In particular, if you get married after you have made your will (and the marriage was not contemplated at the time), this will automatically revoke your will and you must ensure that you prepare a new will. If you get divorced, it is also advisable to prepare a new will to reflect your changed family circumstances.

It is also important to remember that inheritance tax rules can and do change. It may be advisable for you to review your will with a solicitor so they can advise you on whether there have been any changes to the law which would result in a different inheritance tax outcome than the one anticipated when the will was drafted.

Once a will has been drafted, it is not usually the obligation of the draftsperson to keep you up-to-date with any changes, which reiterates the need to seek professional advice when the time comes to review the will.

What should I do if I want to make changes to an existing will or create a new will?

It’s important to speak with an experienced legal professional as they’ll be able to advise on your unique situation and wishes. They can also help with reducing your inheritance tax bill.

You can contact our specialist wills, trusts and probate solicitors on 01590 676933 or by email:

Our solicitors will be happy to arrange an appointment to discuss your needs. As skilled and experienced solicitors, we understand that making a will can sometimes involve difficult topics and questions. We make sure that you are treated with care and consideration, whilst providing you with effective yet understandable advice, to help you and your family plan for the future.

We hoped that this article will encourage you to update your will with a legal professional without further delay, allowing you to get on with living your life in the knowledge your affairs are in order. For more information on Update Your Will Week,